The Art of Winning Blog

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mountain Quest Poem: We Gather

On Wednesday July 10, I depart for Mountain Quest and a week of training with my teachers and senior training partners. I've been going to this event since 1999 and in all that time, I've only missed 2 (and I'm still bummed about those, even though I thoroughly enjoyed my alternate activities). as I've been prepping, I was inspired to write a poem about my experience of the mountain and I thought I'd share it with you. There's an audio recording of it also available.

We Gather



We gather—
on hillsides,
in the woods,
under waterfalls,
we gather.
Collecting pieces of lineage 900 years past.
Spinning conversations
with words and sticks.
We gather
memories mixed in soil, mulch, and bullet casings.
Familiar faces, first timers,
Cleverness embodied in demonstrations of dexterity and skill.
We gather
stories at campfires,
monologues and meditations—
hinting at futures
and alternate pasts.
Joined in the hunt for excellence—
never settling
or giving into to the easy.
Training so that our bodies have as much strength as our spirits.
Pushing our purpose, building our will.
Falling in the mud,
wrestling,
finding the space, creating the opening,
finding our feet more times than we fall.
We gather
fortitude and perseverance.
Drawing on the successes of our teachers
learning from the feedback that’s all too clear.
We gather
armaments of kata—
potentials and metaphors for becoming who we long to be.
We gather sword and heart.
We find freedom in the pursuit of brilliance.
Our abilities forged in the rain and sweat.
Warriors meet on the mountain.
We gather.


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